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TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than 4 million Americans have signed up for health coverage through state and federal insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.
About 4.2 million people had selected a health plan through the end of February, and there's less than a month to go before enrollment ends March 31, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
That includes 2.6 million sign-ups through the federal marketplace at HealthCare.gov, and 1.6 million through state-operated marketplaces.
"Now, during this final month of open enrollment our message to the American people is this: you still have time to get covered, but you'll want to sign up today," Sebelius said in a news release.
The number of people who have signed up for one of the new marketplace health plans is still short of some predictions, however. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office had projected 6 million sign-ups in 2014.
The troubled October launch of the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace website, and technical difficulties experienced by some state exchanges, made enrolling almost impossible in the early days and weeks of enrollment last fall.
Obama administration officials argue that they have turned things around, and they expect a surge in enrollment as the days tick off to the end of open enrollment.
They specifically pointed to numbers showing the percentage of young adults who chose a plan in February -- 27 percent, which is three percentage points higher than it was from October through December.
Young adults' participation in the Affordable Care Act is considered crucial to the success of the controversial health reform law, because their premiums will help to cover older adults who tend to be more prone to illness and disease.
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SOURCE: March 11, 2014, news release, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services